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Shakey retains his championship lead at TT Circuit Assen with two podium finishes

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  • Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne finishes 2nd in both races
  • Rookie Glenn Irwin scores more solid points
  • Alex Polita gets up to speed with his new Lloyds British MotoRapido BSB Team
Two 2nd place finishes by Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne at the TT Circuit Assen keeps the Be Wiser Ducati Team rider at the top of the championship with just one round to left to decide the 2016 British Superbike champion.
Race 1
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) started from pole after setting a new lap record in qualifying yesterday but James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) got the better of him as the riders entered the first corner, before he was then passed by Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki).
By Lap 2 it was the six showdown riders who were the top 6 on track and it wasn’t long before Shakey made his way back up to the front of the pack.
On Lap 10 Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) had taken the lead from Shakey and went on to swap places with his teammate Ellison with Shakey being dropped down to third once again.
On Lap 12 Shakey passed Ellsion for 2nd and then made a lunge on Haslam to lead once more. Haslam was looking to make amends for his disappointing home round at Donington and passed Shakey once more. The two riders entertained with plenty of close racing with Shakey eventually finishing the race just one hundredth of a second behind Haslam.
Shakeys’ teammate Glenn Irwin had lined up in 12th and despite a poor start managed to cross the line in 11th place.
In his first race of the season for the Lloyds British MotoRapido Ducati Team, Alex Polita stalled his bike on the grid, dropping him to the back of the field. But the Italian regained his composure to move up the field, eventually finishing in 23rd.
Race 2
A poor start from the second row of the grid saw Shakey languishing in 12th place with title rival Haslam at the front of the leading pack.  On the second lap he had moved up to 11th and by the end of lap 4 was up to 8th behind Billy McConnell (FS-3 racing). After passing McConnell Shakey caught up to the leading group of riders, finding himself behind Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) in 7th.
Irwin had started from 17th position and at this point was now running in 15th, while Polita had moved from 24th up to 21st.
At two-thirds race distance Polita was up to 18th, but out at the front Shakey was finally able to get past Cooper, before going on to take Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki) for 5th place.
Shakey was now on a charge, passing Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing), Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing), and then Ellison before hunting down the race leader. Despite his best efforts Shakey finished just behind Haslam, ensuring he minimised any reduction in championship lead between the two title contenders.
Irwin finished in the points again in 12th position, while Polita wrapped up his first race weekend with a new team and bike in 18th position.
Following his two 2nd place finishes, Shakey heads into the final round at Brands Hatch GP continuing to lead the championship, the Be Wiser Ducati rider now holding a 17 points advantage over rival Haslam.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne
“The first race was good for me because we have not used the hard tyre in the Ducati before. We had an 8 lap run with the bike on the Friday but I had no idea what the tyre would do over a race distance. With the temperature being so cold we had no choice but to run the harder tyre, so to use a tyre that doesn’t work so well and run Leon (Haslam) so close to the line gives me a lot of confidence.
I think I had the worst start in my career [Race 2], I let go of the clutch and the bike bulked so much so that I had to have another stab at the clutch. The bike reared up so I had to roll off again, so before I knew it I was back in 12th. It was a disastrous start but I made some passes and got to the back of Richard Cooper. Richard is a small guy on a rocket ship so I struggled to get by. At one point I realised I had only five or six laps to go and I could see I still had six guys in front of me and I needed to at least be second behind Leon. I got past Richard and then made a move towards the front and got on to the back of Leon, but he was incredibly strong. I am really happy with the result because the cold weather here in Assen forced us to use the hard tyre for the first time hopefully we can get some warmer weather at Brands and we might be able to run on our preferred tyres. We have a learnt a lot from Assen so I look forward to Brands Hatch and three races but I definitely don’t want to finish second in all those races.”
Glenn Irwin
“We’ve shown that we’ve got good pace. Definitely. And I’m really happy with after where we were with the last race and not being well and the difficult round at Oulton. We’ve kept it upright all weekend and we’ve been quick. I’ll be the first to admit it I’ve been feeling the pressure a bit about trying to secure my deal next year, so I know I’m not riding the way I can. If I had that pressure off me it might help me a little bit. I don’t think we’ve run as much fuel at other circuits, I’m learning all this. It’s a heavy fuel load here and it’s something that I struggle to brake deep with at the beginning of the race. Once we get past that bit it’s like a different race. It’s nothing to do with tyre wear or anything like that. If you look at my tyre in parc fermé my tyres were maybe worse than some of the ones that passed. It’s a lot to learn for me, I’m a rookie still and I need to understand a heavier bike.”

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